This is a long post- filled with my latest Lyme adventure. Feel free to skip to the bottom and just watch the video but if you’re anything like me and frequent the ER often, this might prove useful knowledge to have in your arsenal.
November was quite the month for me. Some of it was fantastic and wonderful with beautiful weather and decent days where I was able to leave the house. And then smack dab in the middle of the month, literally, on the 15th, things turned dark.
There was more in store for me this month than sunshine and pain-free days. Although I’m still grateful and appreciative of those too!
Sunday the 13th at midnight I doubled over in excruciating pain. My lower right abdomen was searing with pain so intense that moving and even the inevitable car ride to the ER was out of the question. I tried to sleep unsuccessfully but by Monday I was back in what has become a very familiar setting, the ER.
I was tested and tested, poked and prodded, cold, scared, and in the most pain I had ever experienced. At the end of the night, there were still no answers. I had no telltale signs or symptoms of appendicitis, aside from the pain. My white blood count wasn’t high and as far as they could tell my appendix wasn’t inflamed. An ultrasound revealed two ovarian cysts on my left ovary but none on my right… still no explanation of the excruciating pain.
I was admitted Monday the 14th and told the surgeon would come sometime in the morning. I wasn’t allowed pain killers in case the pain were to become severe enough to indicate a ruptured appendix. I wasn’t allowed food or water, which was bearable because I didn’t have an appetite, but it was adding to my overall weakness. It was misery waiting for the surgeon to show his face.
10 AM Tuesday morning, the surgeon finally appeared. It sounded promising at first, he assured me I would operated on that day but made it clear that I wasn’t anywhere near the top of the list. He had many surgeries lined up and I would be fit in somewhere.
Agony. The waiting had become too much. I was sleep deprived, in piercing unrelenting pain, not allowed painkillers, food, or water. And waiting 18 hours for what is supposed to be an emergency surgery? This is where my lesson to you comes in to play, listen up:
Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, in the hospital too weak and broken down to speak up for what you need. PLEASE do these two things for yourself.
1) Never be afraid to voice what you need.
I learned this the hard way. I’m in the habit of keeping quiet and suffering in silence. Of smiling through pain and making things easy on others. This is stupid and can be very, very destructive. If you’re in the hospital, chances are the stakes are very high. You need to be thinking of yourself and only yourself. You need to be selfish under these circumstances. This is your life and your health and you know best what you need. It wasn’t until I started screaming and crying 18 hours into my stay that I was listened to. But even that wasn’t enough- and this is where my other lesson comes in, and this is absolutely crucial.
2) Have an advocate.
Even pleading and crying for the surgery to be moved up, in the fear that my appendix would rupture wasn’t enough. And this is why I’m so beyond thankful for my advocate, my mom. She did everything I couldn’t and probably wouldn’t. She got in the nurse’s faces and called everyone she knew with connections to the hospital. She spoke up for me in a way I never could of, and guess what? The surgery was moved up immediately. I was taken to the OR 4 hours before the scheduled time. If there’s one thing you ever hear me on, please let it be this. Always have an advocate with you in the hospital. Someone whom you love and trust to speak up for you when you are unable. It absolutely makes all the difference in the world. Thank you Mom!
And… with that here is the new What to Expect video. You guessed it, the topic being appendectomies. This is a little late for the month of November but this is meant to be November’s second WTE video. There will be two more for the month of December so please keep the ideas coming! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for video suggestions.